Whether enjoyed as a salad or in a wrap, this Pesto Turkey Salad masterfully incorporates the bright and herbaceous notes of pesto with succulent roast turkey to create a dish with an incredible depth of flavor and freshness.
3-4 pound bone-in turkey breast
zest of one lemon
pesto, store-bought or homemade
Parmesan cheese, grated
8 ounces mixed salad greens
8 ounces cherry tomatoes
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper
whole wheat wraps, if serving as a wrap
3 cups basil leaves (or a combination of basil and arugula)
2-3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons pine nuts
½ cup olive oil
½ cup freshly grated parmesan
salt and pepper
Roast the Turkey Breast Breast (can be done ahead of time)
NOTE: You will use half of the roasted turkey to get the 2 cups of shredded turkey needed for this recipe. Below is a recipe for Turkey, Mushroom, and Wild Rice Soup that you can make with the remaining turkey.
Dry-brine the turkey breast: season with salt, black pepper, and the zest of one lemon. Refrigerate for at least two hours, or overnight.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 425°F. Remove the turkey breast from the refrigerator and let temper on the counter for up to 30 minutes.
Line a sheet tray with parchment, and drizzle the turkey breast with a tablespoon of olive oil. Roast the turkey breast for about 20 minutes, then reduce the oven to 375°F. Continue to cook for about 35-45 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 165°F. Let the turkey rest to cool before shredding. Shredded turkey can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Making a Salad or Wrap
If making the pesto yourself, combine the cloves of garlic and pine nuts in a food processor, blending until finely chopped. Add the basil and/or arugula and pulse to combine. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. After the oil is fully incorporated, add the Parmesan, pulse quickly to combine, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To roast the cherry tomatoes, line a sheet tray with parchment and place the tomatoes on the tray. Drizzle with olive oil, mixing to make sure the tomatoes are fully covered. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top. The tomatoes can be roasted along with the turkey or separately in a 375°F degree oven, for about 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through for even cooking. Once they are a little wrinkled and almost ready to burst, remove from the oven and set aside. Leftover roasted cherry tomatoes may be stored in a jar topped with olive oil for up to 5 days. The oil from the jar is great in salad dressing!
Toast pine nuts on the stovetop by heating them in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown (about 3-5 minutes). When done, immediately transfer to a plate to cool.
Mix 2 cups of shredded turkey with the pesto. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Salad: dress the greens with a squeeze of lemon, drizzle of oil, and salt & pepper. Top with the pesto turkey salad, roasted cherry tomatoes, diced red onion, and toasted pine nuts.
Wrap: Spread a spoonful of pesto onto the wrap, then a layer of greens followed by the pesto turkey salad, a layer of thinly-sliced red onions, roasted cherry tomatoes, and toasted pine nuts. Wrap it up, cut it in half, and enjoy.